Friday, July 23, 2010

Organizing electronics

I've been on a bit of a housecleaning binge lately.  Cleaning takes me longer than it should, because we're still pretty new in our house (and I haven't even unpacked some boxes yet).  So I'm still at step one of the old adage, "A place for everything, and everything in its place"--that is, we need to designate some places for our things.

We have this odd built-in in our dining room:
It was clearly created for a TV--if you look just to the right of the printer, through the jumble of electronics, you can see a cable outlet, and there's also an electrical outlet back there.  We're not sure what we're going to do with this space long-term--modern flat-screens have rendered it obsolete, and we don't want a TV in this room anyway.  For now, it serves as a convenient home-base for most of our electronics.  We've got our printer, cable modem, and wireless router here.  P generally uses his laptop at the dining room table, so it's also a convenient place for the laptop to dock and charge when not in use.

But the cords were getting out of control.  In fact, I'm pretty sure there were various cords up there that didn't connect to anything at all.  We had to replace both our cable modem and wireless systems shortly after moving, and I never really tidied up after trouble-shooting.

I had plans for elaborate setups and cable-routing, but then I realized that there was just enough space behind the printer to jam everything in there.  And I'm fine with being an out-of-sight, out-of-mind kind of girl.  So here's our new and improved set-up:

That one cord still sticking out is the USB cable to plug the printer into the computer--I wanted to keep that accessible.  Yes, the printer has wireless capabilities, but it was such a nightmare to set-up the first time--it seriously took 4 different Dell technicians two routers and over 6 hours to finally get it working--that I tremble at the thought of trying to set that up again now that we have a new wireless system and a new laptop.  So I'm procrastinating on that one....

Since organizing this area went so much faster than I had expected, I decided to move on to our growing collection of electronic accessories.  In addition to a few useless cables I rounded up from the printer area, we had two bins full of various cables and AC/DC power adapters.  Did you notice those in the before picture?
Honestly, I don't even know what most of those power adapters power.  A few may belong to items that we're still using but haven't set up since the move, but I'm pretty sure most of them are for obsolete pieces.  We may have a hoarding problem here.  But we discovered last year that, when one of these puppies die (which is not infrequently), they're neither simple nor cheap to replace.  But quite often we're lucky, and find that we can substitute another adapter we happen to have for the broken/lost one.  So we're loath to part with one we're not currently using--what if it turns out to be the next magic bullet?

Anyway, P loves organizing things with cords into Ziplock bags, and I'm starting to admit that he's onto something here.  So I got out my Ziplocks and a sharpie (for those rare instances when I actually knew what something was), and started bagging.
And by the end, I had this:

Ahh.  Much better.  We'll deal with potential hoarding issues another year.

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